iSchool Director Keynotes IFLA Webinar on Global Professional Development
iSchool Director Dr. Sandra Hirsh gave a keynote speech earlier this month addressing the findings of a case study on the impact of the Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conference series.
Dr. Sandra Hirsh, the director of the San José State University School of Information, gave a keynote speech earlier this month addressing the findings of a case study on the impact of the iSchool’s Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conference series.
Speaking during a New Librarians Global Connection webinar for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ New Professionals Special Interest Group, Hirsh presented “Professional Development Outcomes of a Globally Based Virtual Conference Participation: A Library 2.0 Case Study,” where she discussed the influence of the conference on participants and LIS organizations. The methodology included session survey feedback, results from an online survey, and interviews with participants.
One of the objectives of the study was to find out the motivation behind participating in the conference from an attendee’s perspective. The data revealed the top four reasons why information professionals attended the conference:
- Interest in new concepts and trends in librarianship;
- Interest in themes, sessions and/or presenters;
- It is free;
- The desire to learn new skills/knowledge that could aid with job and/or career.
According to Hirsh, 61 percent of survey participants who attended the Library 2.0 conference indicated they learned about new technology and its integration; 28 percent gained knowledge about information issues (e.g., cybersecurity, open access, licensing, etc.); and 26 percent and 25 percent learned about instructional design strategies and social media engagement strategies, respectively. Nearly two-thirds indicated they developed skills or gained knowledge they can use for their jobs; 44 percent felt they gained confidence as a professional; and 39 percent expanded their professional networks.
“The survey also asked if participating in the conference has any direct impact on their organizations, and many participants said that it did, and that their organizations had, as a result of their participation, improved customer service, adopted a new technology or developed new programming for their libraries,” Hirsh said.
Additionally, nearly all the presenters felt more confident as a result of presenting in the Library 2.0 conference; 68 percent advanced their presentation skills; and 59 percent learned how to engage with participants in an online format.
“Our research found that the Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conference series has produced positive outcomes, not only for information professionals but also for the organizations they work in—and even more importantly, for the communities that they serve,” Hirsh noted.
Since 2011, the iSchool has annually hosted the Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conference series, which has had thousands of attendees from more than 160 countries, with keynote speakers from around the world, and provides free archived recordings of all conference sessions.
Highlighting the partnership the iSchool has had with The Learning Revolution Project, which is spearheaded by Steve Hargadon, for the past five years, Hirsh said Library 2.0 has developed into “a dynamic, engaging and effective virtual worldwide conference that connects information professionals from around the world to professional development and networking opportunities.”
“I feel this topic is really important in today’s rapidly changing society and the rapidly evolving information environments; all librarians around the world need to develop new skills that will enable them to influence and engage with their communities,” she said.